Chained CPI for Social Security means forcing seniors, veterans onto food stamps

If you follow this blog, you already know the Chained CPI – a proposed change to Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) – is really just backdoor attempt to cut Social Security benefits. A retiree who lived to age 85 would see a cumulative benefit cut of nearly $14,000.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a cut would net the federal government $127 billion over the next ten years. That’s equivalent to 2% of the U.S. national defense budget over the last ten years. But cutting earned benefits will also mean higher costs. The CBO estimate also includes an increase in SNAP benefits (food stamps) of $2.8 billion over the same time frame:

Because SNAP benefits are calculated based on a formula that considers income, a decrease in income will increase SNAP benefits.

Since 2 in 5 seniors rely on Social Security for nearly all their income, it’s no surprise that cutting Social Security benefits by hundreds of dollars per year will mean they struggle to afford groceries.

income sources of seniors, 2010

2 in 5 seniors have an annual income at or below $20,000 – and 80% of that income comes from Social Security.

Switching to the Chained CPI will hurt millions of American retirees and veterans – the very people who have earned their benefits over a lifetime of hard work and/or military service.

So let’s call the Chained CPI what it really is: the “force seniors on food stamps” program – since that’s exactly what will happen if it’s implemented.

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